Caso Chevron

Judge asks puzzling questions at Chevron v. Donziger appeal

Fortune 20/04/2015

A federal hearing today in the Ecuadorian-environmental battle between the oil giant and a plaintiffs lawyer took an unexpected course.

The 22-year-long, picaresque narrative of the environmental dispute between residents of the Ecuadorian Amazon and Texaco—acquired by Chevron CVX 1.08% in 2001—took yet another unexpected jog today.

A federal appeals court was hearing a much-anticipated oral argument at which New York attorney Steven Donziger was challenging the civil judgment he was saddled with by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan a year ago. Kaplan found that the $8.6 billion environmental judgment Donziger won against Chevron from a provincial court in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, in 2011 was procured through a pattern of racketeering—including bribery, fraud, extortion, obstruction of justice, and other criminal offenses. He forbade Donziger and his clients from trying to enforce the judgment in the U.S., and issued orders designed to prevent Donziger or his clients from profiting from Donziger’s alleged crimes.

The unexpected turn came when the presiding judge of the three-judge panel asked several questions that obviously blindsided both sides, including one that, if he was serious, could keep litigation chugging for another 22 years.

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